New study aims to provide unique insights into the complexity of healthcare of people with intellectual disabilities

Laura Hughes-McCormack (pictured below), Research Associate at the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory (SLDO), in collaboration with colleagues – Dr Maria Truesdale and Professor Craig Melville (SLDO), IHW, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Central Lancashire, St George's University of London – has been awarded a grant by the Baily Thomas Charitable Trust to investigate deaths in people with intellectual disabilities and explore the influence of potentially modifiable primary care quality and access factors on deaths amenable to good health care for people with intellectual disabilities.

The complexity of health and healthcare provision for people with intellectual disabilities makes service improvement a challenge, leading to widening health inequalities for this population compared to the general population.

Photo of Laura Hughes-McCormackThis study will have direct implications for the healthcare provision delivered to people with intellectual disabilities. It is hoped that the findings will lead to the development of interventions based on an underlying theory of change and ensure intervention activities contribute to a reduction in deaths amenable to good health care. The findings from this study will be shared via a diverse range of outputs as this project develops. For more information visit the SLDO website (

Reflecting on the award, Laura said:

"I am delighted that the Baily Thomas Charitable Trust has awarded us the grant and this is an area of research that I am extremely passionate about. I hope that we will make a real difference to the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through this work, by providing unique insights into the complexity of healthcare in this population, and the effects of modifiable primary care factors on the health and mortality over time, ultimately helping to find ways to reduce avoidable deaths in the future."

The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory is funded by the Scottish Government to generate evidence and build understanding of the causes of poor health and health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities and people with autism.

First published: 14 March 2018

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